David Bowie – Remembering A True Rock-n-Roll Hero

David Bowie – Remembering A True Rock-n-Roll Hero

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One of the most intriguing figures in Pop culture history is Brixton, England’s own David Bowie.  Born David Robert Jones on January 8, 1947, this unique individual would not only go on to become a star, but he would change the course of Rock-n-Roll history forever. An artist in the purist sense, Bowie was a musician, a painter, an actor, and fashion trendsetter. That is why when the news hit of his passing on January 10, 2016, at sixty-nine years old, people of all ages universally mourned the loss of a true icon.

The story of Bowie is quite a compelling one filled with ups, downs, highs, and lows. Always feeling like he was different since a young boy, Bowie quickly turned to Rock-n-Roll as his creative muse, picking up a saxophone at eight. He would be heavily influenced by his half brother, Terry, who in many ways, Bowie revered greatly. Terry turned him on to a variety of different forms of music, and, according to Bowie, gave him a vivid education of the outside world. Sadly, Terry suffered from schizophrenia when returning home from military service. Unstable, he was institutionalized, and after years of attempted suicide, he tragically took his own life in 1985. Bowie kept his family’s mental health issues in the back of his mind and often feared that someday he would also fall to the issues that plagued his relatives.

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Essentially devoting his life to art, while it would be easy to think he was instantly successful, that could not be more wrong. In fact, Bowie had many bands in his teenage years that failed before he even sniffed success. Playing in the band called The Konrads at fifteen, he would later go on to be a part of another band called the King Bees, and thereafter, the Manish Boys, the Buzz, as well as, The Riot Squad. Finally, at eighteen years of age, he officially became David Bowie, taking the name from 19th-century American frontiersman Jim Bowie. His choice to change his name was quite clear, there was another David Jones out of England on the verge of stardom with The Monkees. Although, a name change did not immediately halt Bowie’s struggles in the music world, and he worked hard to continue to find his sound. Opposed to in a band, Bowie decided to be a solo artist, and in 1967 he released his self-titled debut album with little success. Then, on July 11, 1969, he released the single “Space Oddity,” just days before Apollo 11 was launched into space. Initially getting airplay in his homeland, the song would then pick up even more attention later that year, becoming his first hit.

Still honing his sound, Bowie followed up with The Man Who Sold the World in 1970, an album that would be heavier than anything he had done in the past, thus proving that he was willing to take risks. The progression continued with 1971’s Hunky Dory, an album that would see Bowie attain more deserved attention in the North American market with hit singles like “Changes.” Recently a new father to his son Duncan Zowie Bowie and a new record deal with RCA Records, Bowie finally began seeing his Rock-n-Roll dreams coming true on an international scale.

Not one to shy away from pushing the envelope, Bowie thrived off controversy with an image that was becoming more and more androgynous with each passing year as he worked hard to create an onstage persona. Always a hot topic with the media, many questioned his sexuality, and in a 1972, in an interview with  Michael Watts of Melody Maker magazine, he stated he was gay. It was a bold move for Bowie at the time and would make him an artist everyone was talking about. While his sexuality would be a topic of conversation for years to come, Bowie’s openness was a far cry from mainstream thinking, and thus helped usher in a new age of a more open-minded way of thinking.

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This would only be the beginning of Bowie’s journey as he would reach deep into his creativity to come up with his own Rock-n-Roll folklore in the form of a character named Ziggy Stardust for his 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. A character that captured the imagination of Rock fans of all ages, many would consider Ziggy Stardust the dawn of a new genre called Glam Rock. Furthermore, being the theatrical soul Bowie was, he vividly brought Ziggy Stardust to life on stage each night as he toured around the world. Now a Rock-n-Roll superstar, Bowie was further expanding his repertoire as he wrote songs for others including 1972’s “All the Young Dudes,” a hit for Mott The Hoople. He would also produce his friend Lou Reed’s 1972 album, Transformer, with Mick Ronson. Thereafter, his production credits beyond his own material continued with The Stooges’ ’73 album, Raw Power, Iggy Pop’s ’77 album, Idiot, plus more.

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Bowie continued the journey of Ziggy Stardust with 1973’s Aladdin Sane, the number one album in the UK at the time. Mentally and physically drained from cocaine abuse and the demand of being Ziggy Stardust, just a few months after the the release of Aladdin Sane, Bowie announced he would be putting the character to rest.  A shocking announcement to fans, in hindsight, looking at Bowie’s incredible career, it would not seem so strange when one puts into consideration he would go on to change his sound and image every few years. This was evident with albums such as 1974’s Diamond Dogs, which features a raw Rock guitar sound on songs like “Rebel Rebel,” and then in 1975, Bowie turned heads again with bluesy album Young Americans, which featured such memorable hits, like the album title track and “Fame,” a collaboration with Carlos Alomar and John Lennon. This led into what many considered yet another transition period for Bowie with the release of Station to Station in 1976, where he continued to explore a variety of musical elements tapped into on Young Americans. Furthermore, he changed his image for a more clean cut and sharp dressed look.

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Like a chameleon, the musical world of Bowie continued to morph with the heavily experimental and ambient album Low in 1977.  Featuring electronic styling and thick emotion, lyrically the album reflected Bowie’s life at the time as he kicked the nasty cocaine habit which controlled his life during the Ziggy Stardust era. While the record was not necessarily a commercial success, it proved that electronic music can have soul. Bowie continued electronic exploration with 1977’s Heroes and 1979’s Lodger, two more records which would prove to be highly influential on Art Rock artists of the future. Then, at the dawn of the new decade, Bowie continued to evolve with the release of Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) in 1980an album which featured such hits as “Ashes to Ashes.” Still very relevant, just a year later Bowie worked with Queen to co-pen and duet with Freddie Mercury on the hit song “Under Pressure.”

Well into the ’80s, it seemed as if Bowie found comfort in the Electronic genre, but he would changed once more and shed his experimental underground style for a much more Pop Rock sound when releasing Let’s Dance in 1983, a record which featured big time hits “China Girl,” “Modern Love,” and of course the title track. Working with famous record producer Nile Rodgers, the album was perhaps his most accessible ever, further proving Bowie could dabble in any genre he wished and still find success with his broad talents. He did it again in 1984, with the album Tonight, which had singles such as “Blue Jean,” and then he ended his Pop era in 1987 with Never Let Me Down, a record which found Bowie feeling as if he was writing songs to please the masses, and not himself.

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While many artists would rest on their prior success sustained over three decades, as 1990 approached, Bowie still longed to try new things, and in 1989, released an album with his new band called Tin Machine. More along the lines of Hard Rock, some may say that record was one of the first to usher in the Alternative Rock that would dominate the ’90s. While Tin Machine only lasted a few years, it renewed Bowie’s creative inspiration and he returned with a new solo album in 1993, entitled Black Tie White Noise. A record that is brilliantly written and composed, Bowie kept seeking artistic fulfillment as he put out the dark concept album Outside in 1995 and the heavier Industrial Rock album Earthling in 1997. Quite savvy, he even was ahead of the curve with the digital music revolution when in 2000 he released Hours… via the internet two weeks prior to the physical release.

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With one ear to the ground, Bowie was always ahead of his time and keen on what was in as he made yet another change in 2002 when he once again worked with long-time producer and friend Tony Visconti for the album Heathen, Visconti’s first co-production with Bowie since 1980. Showing Bowie still had it, even in the 21st century, the record became his highest charted since Tonight. Then a year later, Bowie released the album Reality. To many, it may have seemed like the end of the road for Bowie because he would not release another studio album until a decade later with 2013’s The Next Day, which was a critically acclaimed comeback.

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Releasing a total of twenty-six studio records in total, including his swansong, Blackstar, days prior to his death, Bowie has sold approximately one-hundred forty million records worldwide and was rightfully inducted as a member of the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.  While Bowie kept himself extremely busy as a performer throughout his career both in music and as an actor in many films such as 1983’s The Hunger and 1986’s Labyrinth, to name a few, he made time to be a father to his Duncan Zowie. Despite the issues in his first marriage with Angie Bowie, he remained heavily involved in his son’s life and had a good relationship with him until his dying day. In addition, Bowie found his true love in 1992 when he married fashion model Iman.

Bowie reportedly claimed he knew Iman was the one for him the moment they met, and in exchange, after twenty-four years of marriage, Iman stated that her heart still fluttered each time he walked into the room. The two went on to have one child together in 2000 when their daughter Alexandria “Lexi” Zahra Jones was born. Spending countless years touring the world, Bowie retired from touring following 2003-2004’s Reality Tour, which ended up being the longest of his career. The decision to stop touring gave Bowie the time to concentrate on his family, act more, and get involved in things that interested him personally, such as art.

A life that no one could dream up in a million years, Bowie’s loss is both heartbreaking to his fans and to popular culture. A man who spent a great deal of his adult life in the spotlight, he respectfully kept his eighteen month battle with liver cancer private. Always very intelligent and forward thinking, Bowie very well knew Blackstar would be his final record when he recorded it between 2014 and 2015. To think this special man would still push forward through his illness to write and record the album, along with releasing the video for the song “Lazarus” just three days before his passing, is a testament to his dedication to art and his fans. The video for “Lazarus” shows Bowie on his deathbed and was clearly foreshadowing on the inevitable, making it haunting, heartbreaking, but beautiful. Ironically, Blackstar has become Bowie’s highest charted album ever in the USA.

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His fearless approach to creating was inspirational to generations to follow, with many being influenced by Bowie, including Alice Cooper in the ’70s,  Ozzy Osbourne in the ’80s, and in the ’90s, Marilyn Manson, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, as well as Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, just to name a few. A matter of fact, Bowie has influenced every genre of music out there in some shape or form. Without his pioneering foresight, one could dare say the theatrics in Rock-n-Roll would not be what they are today. He married the concept that one can be a musician as well as a theatrical figure on stage and beyond. Too often, many judge a musician’s integrity by their dedication to a particular genre, but Bowie had no concern for such things, he sincerely did what he wanted to do on stage.

Above all his influences on music and popular culture, Bowie’s music touched the heart of millions. For many, his songs are an intricate part of listeners’ lives, providing escape, release, and a feeling of comfort in being different. Like many, Bowie struggled with feelings of isolation in life. He just found a way to channel his feelings, negative or positive, into something creative. He defied all the odds; overcoming emotional insecurities, beating addiction, recovering from financial distress, and finding true love.

Bowie stated in 1998’s VH1 Legends documentary, “I am necessarily trying to be my real self on stage. I am not up there to be a real person, that is not what I do. I present an interesting alternative idea of what you can do with Rock, it is as simple as that.” A very telling and honest statement, Bowie’s physiology by his own proclamation irritated many people, but inevitability he stood by his artistic freedom. Essentially, Bowie lived for art. He was art and art was him. It is hard to say if there will ever be another artist as impactful as him in this lifetime. While the chances are unlikely, David Bowie’s body of work will continue to inspire for years beyond the imagination, and that is why this extraordinary man will be eternal.

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There is no question of David Bowie’s enormous influence. Below are thoughts of just some of the many musicians he inspired through the years:

“David Bowie was an artist’s artist. His innovation for songwriting and theatrics brought a new dimension to music. He was a true original and he will forever be an influence to countless musicians.” – Chris Clemence, Screaming At Demons bassist

“David Bowie was a musical genius as well as a continually morphing identity. His music has touched many worldwide and will continue to bring millions enjoyment for many years to come. Rest in peace Mr. Bowie and thank you for all you have given us while you were here on Earth.” – Don Felder, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist 

Aladdin Sane was the first tape I bought with my own money.  He was a rare artist in that he reinvented himself through the years in so many ways, but it wasn’t cheesy or insincere.  Everything he did throughout his career was an honest representation of who he was and how he evolved as an artist with the utmost integrity and class. He was the first artist that made me say , ‘I wanna be that, I wanna be a rock star.’  I wouldn’t be doing what I do now if it weren’t for Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Heathen, but most importantly, David.” – Jimmy Wooten, Gears drummer

“For us, Bowie is less of an influence and more of an inspiration. He always managed to follow his artistic vision, no matter where it took him. David Bowie really was fearless in his approach to music, which is something we’ve always strived for. His presence in music was powerful, and often game-changing. Rest in peace, David Bowie.” Nikki Whitehead, Dylan Lauzon and Nate Baylor, Nikki’s Wives

“We mourn the loss a stunning star who gave great gifts to the universe. To speak personally: His death has brought so much to life, the memories, the way his music and words touched me so profoundly, the way his personality and worldview validated me at difficult times in my life. We did a cover of the song “Heroes” for our new record. We dedicate this cover to the life of David Bowie, our Hero.” – Sam Anderson, Hey Marseilles

“I fell in love with David Bowie’s music when I first heard Heroes. He recorded his album in Berlin and caught this strange, dark, mystical, almost scary vibe, perfectly. Since that time I was always blown away by his multidimensional, beautiful, breathtaking work and talent. Always took me to another world, to another planet….I met him once in NYC at a big rehearsal studio called SIR and I was immediately hypnotized by his powerful aura. What a phenomenal, unique, one of a kind artist. We’ll miss him tremendously.” – Doro Pesch, Doro vocalist 

“I’m glad David Bowie visited us here on earth. He always seemed so out of this world to me, and the way he combined music and fashion was unparalleled. We’ve lost a true legend. R.I.P.” – Brent James, singer/songwriter 

“David Bowie will always be what it means to be a true trendsetter. The visionary power of his artistry was so great in how he constantly reinvented himself from his initial rise during the era of disco to staying atop of music conversations in today’s age. His influence already had so much of an effect on us as artists that during 3bd sets, our singer Jon had been performing acoustic renditions of ‘Space Oddity.” He will be sorely missed as there was no other performer such as Ziggy Stardust.” – Jon Goodhue, Kevin Hicklin, Frank Mullis, and Kent Diimmel, 3 By Design

“I was saddened to hear the news of David’s passing. I’ve known him for many years and have great respect for his contribution to music and style. John and I first met him when we toured together back in 1973 and I was blown away by his stage persona. I ran into him many times over the years and was also impressed by his intelligence. He was one of a kind and will be missed.” Daryl Hall, Hall & Oates 

”Bowie was an ever morphing chameleon, an enigma~ almost that of a unicorn but he was somehow physical and left every young songwriter and artist with feelings and goals of something to strive for. His influence touched every genre.” – Charlie Overbey, singer/songwriter 

“It’s truly heartbreaking to see an icon of such stature leave the building. Consciously or not, what we do is inspired and influenced by David Bowie’s brilliant work on some level or another. This is the end of an era.” – Dirk Verbeuren, Soilwork drummer

“David Bowie is an inspiration for so many reasons- his songwriting, his approach to identity, his cultural resonance. As we’ve tried to push our own boundaries musically, he’s been a guiding light for what it means to redefine yourself. On our most recent record, we wanted to redefine one of our favorite songs of his and make it our own. We are grateful for his artistry and brilliance, and the opportunity to listen to and interpret his music through our own ears. He will be missed.” – Matt Bishop, Hey Marseilles

“David Bowie was an artist whose talent was so immense it’s expression could not be limited to one form but many and all. To say he was other worldly is not too far from the truth…. for he was surely on a level above and beyond most mortal beings..” – Nina Blackwood, former MTV VJ & current DJ  on Sirius XM Radio The 80s on 8

“I bought my first Bowie album, Hunky Dory, sometime during my mid-teens, but I finally understood its greatness a few years later, when I left my parents and got my first own apartment in another small, depressing Swedish town. I tried to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a Rock musician, but I could barely pay the rent. The one thing I always somehow found money for, though, was getting shitfaced every Saturday night. In those days of my distant youth, I never got hungover, but every Sunday morning, when I lay in my bed, enveloped in the smell of yesterday’s cigarette smoke and cheap beer, I always put on Hunky Dory on my vinyl player, and it somehow made the thought of my doomed future a bit more bearable, and it actually made me feel way smarter than I was, and probably ever will be.

Since then, I’ve had many revelations when it comes to Bowie’s genius, but it always takes me a while, sometimes years, to fully understand his music and all the layers of references and hidden truths that always seem to lurk somewhere in there. I believe that there are many revelations yet to come, and I’m looking forward to each and every one of them. But the way he guided me through those Sunday mornings, trapped in the psychological moratorium between child and adult, aspirant and failure, is what will always mean the most to me.” – David Andersson, Soilwork guitarist

“Larger than life, able to boldly leap into different genres, David Bowie was one of a kind and the music world was made much more interesting by him.” – Tommy Shaw, Styx guitarist

“It was 1981, I was playing with GE Smith and El Fabulero at The Savoy in NYC. It was an interesting show as the comedy team of Al Franken (now a senator) & Tom Davis opened for us. They did a parody of Brown Sugar, called of course, White Sugar, and we were the backing band for that. Al Franken stuffed powdered donuts into his face while he sang the song.

Anyway, during our set, I looked over to offstage right, past GE, and saw Bowie standing there smiling as he watched us play. Pete Townshend was leaning on his shoulder. Clearly, that’s not something you forget easily.

I’m slowly realizing that Bowie was more of an influential figure to me than I had thought. I’m gutted.” – Tom Harper, KISS guitar tech/ studio bassist

“David Bowie was a true legend. He touched everything from music, to fashion, to overall attitude. Just like Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie was the real deal and he will be sorely missed by all.” – Sam Vlasich, Red Sky Mary vocalist 

“David Bowie is one of my all time biggest influences in why I do what I do. From his musicianship to his writing to his incredible stage presence and performances, he embodies everything I aspire to be as an artist. He may have left this life, but energy like his lives on beyond forever. The world lost one of the greatest musicians to ever walk the Earth and lightning like him will never strike twice.”  – Crown Jwlz

“David Bowie recorded his most successful album ever, Let’s Dance, produced by the great Nile Rodgers, at my Power Station Studios in Manhattan.  Scary Monsters, produced by Tony Visconti, was also recorded in our Studio C.  I had the pleasure of getting to know David during the time he worked at Power Station. My most notable recollection was that David Bowie was very understated in his appearance and manner – not at all like the onstage persona. He knew that I built and designed the studios and he asked me a lot of questions about the state-of-the-art equipment we were using at the time and what we did to customize the room and the equipment.  Bowie told me that he was never really 100% satisfied with the way his own voice sounded on recordings. But we got superb sound and richness on his vocals.  He returned and recorded the single “Under Pressure” in Studio B.” – Tony Bongiovi, Record Producer and owner at Power Station Recording Studios

“David Bowie has always been an extraordinary and powerful artist. This has been true right until the end. His last video “Lazarus,” for example, from his new album, is absolutely extraordinary, and contains so much raw truth and emotion that I can’t bear to watch it. Just at the moment I prefer to remember him and his energy from happier times.” – Rod Argent, The Zombies organist/vocalist

“When you are born, you know someday you will die. David Bowie was one of those people you think will live forever.  Immortality. In a way-he is. His music and inspiration will live forever, here on blue planet Earth and inside of each and every one of us.” – NINET, Israeli pop-rock-Indi musician

“David Bowie was a true artist and a one of a kind human being.” – Tom Boisse, Red Sky Mary guitarist 

“I don’t usually post or comment on things like this but goddamn, this one really hit me hard. I’ve always held Bowie on a Demi God level. One of the most incredibly talented, trailblazing, genuine beings to have ever graced the known universe. 2016, the world is in dire need of Rock stars like this man. He has influenced me in so many ways and continues to push me as a songwriter. His impression on the world has been and will continue to be massive. BOWIE FOREVER!!!” – Turk, Biters vocalist/guitarist

“I have never been an outspoken Bowie fan, and never realized how much of a fan I was till I reflected on how many songs I connected with. Bowie was an intriguing artist who fascinated me from an early age. Being a kid and seeing the video for “Ashes to Ashes” scared me at first, but became an obsessive creative love to this day. Just one of many amazing works of pure artistic finesse. A rare gem in today’s world, thank you.” – Jesse Dracman, Darkc3ll vocalist

“Man, it sucks we’re entering a period of our lives where all of our heroes are passing on, but with Bowie’s passing, it really hit deep. Whether you were a fan of his records or not, Bowie changed it all and made a fuckin’ mark. And there will never be anyone else to ever leave such an impression. He challenged the world and never stopped creating something entirely unique, which we’re all very lucky to have even witnessed. Plus how many of us can agree that those Ziggy-era records were killer make-out albums in our younger years. Thank you for it all, Bowie we love you.”– Adam Grant, Black Wizard guitarist

“With the passing of David Bowie the world has lost a true artist in every respect; uniquely original, ever expanding and exploring…Daryl and I played with him in 1973 on his first U.S. tour. Off stage he always struck me as warm and engaging. His creativity and musical legacy will live forever.” – John Oates, Hall & Oates

“I remember first becoming acquainted with David Bowie’s work when I was in high school. I was a budding guitarist, and it was always frustrating to me that the twiddly guitar leads I liked to play were essentially useless in most social settings. Nobody thought you were a legit guitarist unless you could play songs everyone could sing. The problem was that I really didn’t like most of the songs everyone could sing. I didn’t want to hack away at big chords and play corny things like ‘Louie Louie.’ That was cheesy. I wanted play something cool. Something with credibility.

David Bowie’s ‘Ziggy Stardust’ became that song for me. It’s relatively simple to play, and, while it has all the hallmarks of an arena Rock song, it’s got an inexplicable combination of glitter and grime, and the guitar parts, while simple, were just exactly right. The three G’s–Glitter, Grime, and Guitar. Perfect. That’s the kind of song you could play at a party, and everyone would start singing along unashamedly because it was fuckin’ Bowie, man. Nothing cheesy about that. And that really says something about Bowie’s music–almost anyone could sing it, but nobody could quite sing it like him. It was somehow both universal and completely individualistic. It’s like a magic trick. The best kind of magic.” – Erik Caplan, Wizard Eye guitarist/vocalist

“Today the term ‘Rock star’ is often used an as insult. It can mean anything from being a diva, an auto tuned pretty face, or a talentless record company cash cow. But ‘zrock star’ used to mean something very different. It was a term reserved for those rare individuals who not only possessed a musical gift, but they paid their dues and reinvented themselves over and over again. They strived for greatness in the field of music and they achieved it. There are so few of these people I can count them on one hand. We just lost one of them. Rest in Peace David Bowie.” – Mark Briody, Jag Panzer guitarist 

“David Bowie was an iconic figure that literally changed the face of music. His sounds spanned generations, and I am proud to call myself a fan of Ziggy Stardust.” – Michael LeBois, Red Tide Rising bassist 

“David Bowie was and will remain part of the fabric of the English cultural landscape and I suspect his outstanding legacy will that of the provocateur who gave us a license to explore, permission to see what is on the other side. He was a Hero.” – Andy Paul, Scream Arena vocalist 

“When I think of David Bowie, I think of an innovator, a person who always seemed to walk to a different beat, but was so cool when doing it that he captivated any and everyone who was paying attention. I can remember my mother and father jammin’ Bowie records like The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and Let’s Dance really loud on our house record player system when I was little, so I’m more than familiar with Mr. Bowie’s works, his style,and his sound as it was a bit of my own life soundtrack for a good period of my life, as I’m sure it was for so many others. Over the years, as I grew, I always watched in amazement as he continued to break ground as an artist, from theatrical roles like Labyrinth, to a cutting edge collaboration with Trent Reznor. Shit, my kids even know him as Lord Royal Highness, a character from a Sponge Bob movie. Bowie got around, and no matter what he was doing, he owned it! That very statement speaks so much to who he was!!!! Most recently, at Thanksgiving, my step-dad played Bowie’s newest video for “Blackstar” for me. I was blown away and made it a point to purchase his new album. Shortly after that, he passed. David Bowie was and is an artistic inspiration on all levels, and he and all his great works will be greatly missed.” – Jamie Madrox, Twiztid

“R.I.P. David Bowie. You were a trendsetter, trailblazer, innovator, and one hell of a fuckin’ musician. We shall never see an artist who can continue to put out new music over 6 decades again. Through the early years of that Classic Rock sound of the ’60s, the space age Stardust of the ’70s, moving into the Pop synth sound that so many tried to duplicate in the 1980s, he gave us hit after hit. Even taking chances into the Hard Rock realm with “I’m Afraid of Americans” (my personal favorite) in the ’90s. The list of great songs goes on and on into the 21st century. I’m glad I got to see him at least once with Eric at Jones Beach. You didn’t change with the times. The times changed with you!” – Alex Fedorow, Gillian bassist 

“Take Bowie out of the equation and we would not exist. It’s a sad day for music. He was 69 and still cooler, more relevant, vibrant, and better looking than any of us. He worked right to the end and was honest. never an an imitation of anything, including himself. Thought and prayers to his friends and family. Thank you David Jones for everything.” – Death Valley Dreams

“David Bowie epitomized the larger than life artist and personality.  His music, style, attitude and lyrics influenced artists from every genre, including metal, and we all owe homage to his devotion to art as a way of life.  A true rock star and icon, the likes of which the world may never again see.” – Michael Meinhart, Socionic vocalist 

“When I first heard the news, my immediate reaction was not of sadness, or devastation, or regret, as all came later, but an overwhelming sense of peace, and pride. “He made it. He escaped this godforsaken place.” I thought to myself. Then I listened to Blackstar again, and cried and cried. In those lyrics, and in that music, I felt sure there was the bittersweet reckoning of a goodbye, and the assurance that he had indeed ‘leveled up.’ He was trying to give us a hint, push us all in the right direction, leave us with some sort of hope and warning, but as Bowie said, ‘I can’t give everything away.’ In those words lie a clue to enlightenment. There’s no coincidence he went right after he dropped the album, just after his birthday, and just as a comet passes over our earth, probably hitching a ride to the next stop on his freaky little galaxy tour. Bowie’s scope is metaphysical, his voice spiritual, and his stature mythological.

Now that he’s gone, I almost can’t believe he ever existed; suddenly his spirit and his vision rises to that of a demigod, or higher. In a way, I’m upset I never got to meet him, but perhaps it’s for the best. We can save that meeting for the next life, whatever form that takes. And even though he left us, suddenly, I feel him everywhere. I feel him in the songs I write, in the ecstasy of a good dance, and the quiet uncertainty of a morning coffee. I feel like I lost a father, and gained a guardian. Bowie was the ultimate Self; he consistently defied adjectives and labels, and at the end of his life can only be described by two words; David Bowie. – Monika, The New Tarot vocalist 

“On Monday morning around 3 AM I was woken up by the sound of howling wind beating against my window. Out of habit, I flipped through my phone only to discover the news of Bowie’s death. It took a few minutes for me to process what I’d read, but once it clicked it, hit me like a ton of bricks. I guess I’d never fully realized just how big a role he played in my life, and now that he was gone, the idea of music having any sort of future seemed like a joke. In these past few empty days, I’ve thought a lot about the life and times of DB and would like to thank him for giving the androgynous, the misunderstood, and the generally uninvited children of this world a better sense of identity and self-worth. I miss you, David. I think we all do.”  Matt Stevenson, Spires

“So crushed about Bowie. The man pushed boundaries that made it okay for the whole world to be a bit weirder, that allowed all of us to feel a bit more comfortable in our own skins. He mixed Sci-Fi, music, and performance art in groundbreaking ways, and he’ll forever take his listeners to places far beyond our small solipsistic earth. Totally struck by all of the memories spent with his art: A wonderful moment when my dad explained to me the concept of Ziggy Stardust (Speaker vs. Author = mind blown). Hours driving aimlessly through the mountains alone, buying time to unpack his albums with the civic stereo. Listening to Five Years and developing a deep fear of fame and loneliness… oh man. The stars look very different today.” – Kym Hawkins, Gillian vocalist/percussionist 

“David Bowie’s music has had a profound impact on not only my songwriting but my overall outlook on life. I first listened to the Hunky Dory album when I was in my mid-twenties. David’s artistic ambition is what initially drew me in, but it was his poetry that resonated most with me. The lyric, ‘turn and face the strange,’ from the song ‘Changes,’ has been an inspiration to me while I navigate through the unpredictability of adulthood.” – Christopher Isaacs, Talkie guitarist 

“Bowie’s music inspired, challenged, and changed how we listen to Rock music. His unique talent will continue to absorb into the threads of our subconscious and the stars that we dream of.” – Korbee

“Bowie was a trailblazer, a chameleon, an artist in its truest form and a hero to millions. He challenged and changed what Pop music was. Look at his death – a work of art in itself; those words from ‘Lazarus’ are just so fucking spooky and great. My Mum and Dad brought me up on Bowie, it was the soundtrack of their youth too. All artists are indebted to him, I know I am.” -Wølffe​

“David Bowie was an innovator and was so unique. He seemed fearless to me. I take that into my career, following my gut and believing truly in what I am doing and trusting that people will recognize that authenticity.” – Erin Willett,  singer/songwriter 

“It’s this simple, I would not be where I am or the person I am today if it wasn’t for David Bowie. I truly found myself. Especially as an artist, as a singer. He changed my entire landscape on songwriting, fashion, performing, intelligence. It’s grim to know that a hero for many, has faded away. A sincere genius. His legacy will continue to grow, forever. My heart goes out to his loved ones. Rock -n- Roll has just died a little bit…” – Micky James, The Karma Killers vocalist/guitarist 

“There are Followers, Leaders, and Creators. David Bowie (the man that fell to earth) was a true creator. Never predictable, and seemingly always reinventing himself.” – Chris “Godzilla” Doliber , Madam-x bassist 

“David Bowie was so much more than just a musician. David Bowie was a seal of approval for all things cool. A towering archetype of what it meant to be both comfortable in your own skin, yet willing to shed it at a moment’s notice. My generation has never lived in a world without David Bowie. We were introduced to him while we were still in diapers, as a terrifying, yet hypnotizing baby snatcher in Labyrinth. Only to fully realize the scope of his work and genius as we hit adolescence and started probing for purpose in art. And from that point on… even if he was never squarely in your sights… he remained in your periphery. As something to aspire to as an artist. A man who had touched every bit of Pop culture, in any way that he wanted, and always left it better than he found it. I can think of no single person who cast such a shadow over our collective sense of coolness than Mr. David Robert Jones. And now that he is gone… an entire world full of artists is left without its unwavering godfather of hip. His influence on the minds of creators will never be duplicated. And his absence will be felt just as strongly as his presence. The world needed David Bowie. Sadly… it seems he no longer needed us. I hope there is peace out there, Ziggy. Godspeed.” – Ryan Hudson, Love and a .38 vocalist 

“‘Suffragette City’ was the only cover song I ever bothered to teach myself as a kid on guitar…. David Bowie/Ziggy Stardust was this half space man, half Rock star wizard who I was fascinated with and might be responsible for a lot of my actions in life and obsession with outer space… (I’m sticking to that story), he is the ONE AND ONLY Rock star space man. Thank you David Bowie. See you in the stars.” – Eric plonka,  Scientist guitarist/vocalist 

“Celebrities die all of the time. We hear about it on the news or on Facebook, and we think about them and, if we’re fans, we listen to their music or watch their films. And even though we know that everyone in the world will reach their inevitable end, it’s always a little shocking to us. With David Bowie, it seemed much more shocking than most. Old people die. Sick people die. But, it seemed, David Bowie was neither one of these things. He was immortal. He was that alien that fell to earth to live amongst us and share himself. He was Jareth, the centuries-old Goblin King. He was a legend. I think it was shocking, too, because it was another harsh reminder of our own mortality. Afterall, if this could happen to an immortal man, what hope do we have! Well, I’ll tell you, or at least tell you how I feel about it.

David Bowie the Man may no longer be, but David Bowie the Legend will live on forever. And that is comforting – and inspiring. He found what he loved and was good at, and he never stopped doing it. He opened the doors and paved the way for so many of us to do what we do now. It’s a fool’s hope to leave a legacy as vast and wonderful as David Bowie did, but we will ALWAYS have his work to remind us of what is possible. That we can keep pushing the boundaries of what is “normal” and continue to grow and expand. Stay creative by creating constantly. Do our own thing. Look weird. Say weird things. And, for gods’ sake, listen to more David Bowie!” – Fable Cry

“I always shared David Bowie’s “repulsive need to be more than human.” I want to be superman, he’d said and to me he was. When I heard he died, Black Star was on my turntable and I stood in silence staring at his farewell awaiting me. All I could think was dear god…my dear god…and I hid myself away into the grooves of my vinyl, spinning away in the most peculiar way.” – Jack Berry, singer/songwriter 

“At first it feels like there is no way it could be true. Once it sets in, you realize that, although he is gone, he will live forever. David Bowie is a true legend and I’m happy I got the opportunity to share this planet with somebody so special. You will be missed.” – Lipstick Junkies

“David Bowie’s aptitude for crafting larger-than-life concepts has always inspired me to strive to be more than just a musician writing and playing songs. With each concept came its own universe that listeners were invited to enter into. I’ve aspired to achieve this level of creativity and cohesion with our Talkie albums, and I hope that our music can take listeners to new places, just like Bowie albums have done, and will continue to do for years to come.” – Eric Martin, Talkie drummer

“David Bowie was sex. When I was younger, Bowie’s sexual energy and unbelievable cool actually intimidated me and scared me from being a fan! I’m not kidding! As I got older and became a sexual person, I was no longer intimidated by Bowie (okay, maybe still a little bit) but I was much more curious about how this one mega star could just do whatever he pleased and create whatever he pleased, and it was always unmistakably Bowie. That’s a dream! The man achieved a dream and freedom that seems impossible to the rest of us, and instead of being made an outcast for being himself, he just kept getting cooler, desirable, and simply amazing.” – Stroamata

“We say the world lost a hero, I say heroes never die! He professed, “We could be heroes, just for one day.” The Flux Machine says he couldn’t help but to be a hero everyday. Saving us from uniformity in our soft, pliable, formative years into tall-standing, proud human beings, embracing all that made us different and unique.” – The Flux Machine

“The first record I ever bought was the “Space Oddity ” 45 single. He was simply out of this world. One of the greatest true music artists of the last half century.” – Tommy Victor, Prong vocalist/guitarist

“I’ve been a big fan of Bowie for a long time.  He was effortlessly cool whether he was Ziggy Stardust, The Goblin King, or just being David in an interview or a picture.  Everything he did, he always did it with such flare and pizazz.  As a musician, I’ll always be able to go back and look to his life as inspiration.” – Jon Siren, IAMX & Mankind Is Obsolete drummer

“I was blessed to play a few festivals with Mr. Bowie in Europe in the late  ’90s … Nowadays we have musicians. Bowie was a true artist, songwriter, performer, style aficionado, and inspiration. Ziggy played guitar! I’m sure hes in space as planned!” – Evan Seinfeld, Attika 7 vocalist 

 

 

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Frank Malerba
frank@crypticrock.com
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